The second day of CPAC was just as, if not more crazy than the first. President Donald Trump, Ambassador John Bolton, and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina all addressed the crowds on a variety of issues affecting our nation. We also got an update on how things are going across the pond from Brexit leader Nigel Farage.
Before Donald Trump’s upset in November, the United Kingdom had its own heated election. Like ours, this was a vote that British conservatives expected to lose. Yet, on June 23, 2016, 52% of the British people voted to leave the European Union and reassert their national sovereignty on the international stage. Former Prime Minister David Cameron adamantly opposed leaving, but leaders such as Farage, Daniel Hannan, and current Prime Minister Theresa May campaigned vigorously and won the day.
In the CPAC program, Farage followed President Donald Trump. While this was likely coincidental, I found that it brought out a fascinating parallel that Anglophiles and “America-philes” alike ought to notice.
There are plenty of write ups on Trump’s address. I don’t have the room here to get into that here. I will say, though, that it was essentially the warmed up leftovers of his campaign speeches. He played the greatest hits of “fake news,” immigration policy, and trade.
Raheem Kassam of Breitbart London introduced Farage, thanking him for how he changed his life and “changed the world in a very significant way.” Farage emerged from backstage, excited to take the stage. He shouted: “2016, we did it, we did it!” He, like many conservatives, saw the year as an all-out victory against the leftists, the globalists, and the progressives.
Many in America felt the same. And yet, I have to wonder if both of these movements, while maintaining conservative elements, were not more populist?
Farage himself hinted at this when he spoke of the growing support for Brexit after it passed the referendum. He claimed “the revolution that happened in ’16 will carry on to ’17.” Indeed, despite the media and President Obama intervening in British affairs, support Brexit rose nearly 16% between June and today. With regard to his American friends, Farage believes that the populist spirit will carry Trump into better graces, that he “will become more popular in America day by day.”
We’ve been able to keep a good parallel going so far with our British friends, but will this one hold? Will the spirit of 2016 give Trump the same momentum as the Brexiters?